Centre has expressed concerns over constant loss in coal production due to disturbances created by villagers near coalfields in Odisha and sought intervention to streamline the production.

Secretary of Union Ministry of Coal Alok Perti in a letter addressed to Chief Secretary B. K. Patnaik said, “it is a matter of concern that in June alone there was a reported loss of coal production to the tune of 5.77 lakh tonnes with cumulative loss of 18.12 lakh tonnes due to disturbance created by villagers.”

“Similarly, during the month of August, the loss of coal production due to disturbances created by villagers has been reported to be of 6.45 lakh tonnes with a cumulative loss of 21.58 lakh tonnes.

Under the circumstances, it is imperative that local administration must render adequate help to the coal company to perform its duties peacefully and efficiently and take effective preventive action to bind down the miscreants who create obstruction,” Mr. Perti said.

The Centre said coal production of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited was disturbed in its open caste mines of Bharatpur, Lakhanpur, Lingaraj, Basundhara, Jagannath, Bhubaneswari, Hingula and Balaram.

Coal sector is not alone witnessing local disturbance. The State Energy Department has recently sought extension of promulgation of Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) by six months to prohibit strikes. Frequent strikes had affected performance NTPC's Kaniha power station in Angul district.

Besides, Centre raised the issue of forest clearance regarding coal mining, Mr. Petri said.